Sunday, August 29, 2010

52CP34: No Fear

Have I kept you in suspense long enough? Sorry about the delay - I had some things to take care of this morning before I could get back home to post this.

It would seem that FEAR is a big topic lately. Several blogs, emails, articles, etc., this week have dealt with the topic. I'm going to share just a few of the things I've come across here, and then add a tidbit of my own.

Martha Beck, life coach and prolific writer, had a wonderful article this week regarding life's peaks and valleys. She specifically discusses what to do when everything seems to be going wrong. What would that be? Nothing. Yup - nothing at all:

When things fall apart, your urge is to do something - anything - to put them back together. but what if you can't do that right now?

If you're going into a valley, do what you did as a small kid on the big shiny playground slide: Let go and ride it down. Accept that what is happening is happening. Then immediately implement {the following step}.

Every traditional wisdom culture has metaphors for the ups and downs of life. In the Good Book there's a particular reference to difficult times as "the valley of the shadow of death". The Psalmist who coined the term promptly recommends the best way to travel through it: Fear no evil.

She goes on to relate a personal experience she had, and then wrote what was - to me - the essence of overcoming fear:

Psychologists have found our brains can't simultaneously experience fear and appreciation. That's why it's so helpful to make a list of things that bring you comfort, support, and hope. When things keep going wrong and fear returns, lengthen your list. As this practice trains your brain not to fear, you'll notice there are wonderful things to be found in the valleys between your so-called peak experiences.

She also addresses when it seems that everything is going wrong - like it's a conspiracy or something. Coincidence? Not so much - nature is trying to tell you something: Rest. As a t-shirt that one of her friends wears says: "Do nothing when nothing works."

She outlines how to go about resting, too. Follow this link for more on resting.

I also really, really loved what Carmen Torbus had to say about "the F-word" (fear, not that other one). It's a short post on her blog, but packed with meaning.

All of this incubated in my brain this week, and I also began baby-stepping into something I have been fearful about for the past several years, so I came up with a personal "No Fear Manifesto". I printed it off and added it to the cover of a composition book where I write plans and projects and other ideas:

Stamp: Inkadinkado Bold Damask; Ink: Stampin'Up! Kiwi Kiss; Paper: Stampin'Up! Riding Hood Red, Rockabilly dsp; Accessories/tools: Composition book, ribbon, skull charm

The ribbon I used to decorate the cover is also long enough to use as a bookmark. I've created a
.jpeg file and a .pdf file of the manifesto for you, if you'd care to use either/or for yourself. I can't figure out how to get them here on Blogger, but if you click over to my other blog, you can grab the appropriate link there. And that's it for me this week! Do you have a No Fear Manifesto of your own? What will you create this week? Here's Mr. Linky:

Saturday, August 28, 2010

52CP33 Featured Artists

I'm a bit more on the ball this week, so I'm posting this week's Featured Artists on time for a change! End-of-summer, start-of-school, life-as-we-know-it has everyone very busy, I'm sure, and there are more important things to focus attention on than making something for my challenges, but I so appreciate when any of you do! This week we had two submissions:

Stephanie pulled out another one of her wonderful sentiment stamps to make a very joyful card - it completely captures the essence of the challenge! Click over to her blog to see all of the serendipitous inspirations for her card:

Ira altered a wine bottle - or gift-wrapped it, whichever way you choose to look at it - as a nod to being fully present with dinner guests and focusing attention on them and on the delicious meal:

Isn't that pretty? I love all the vintage touches. Click over to her blog to see a couple of other views - the ribbon corset lacing on the back is especially pretty...

And that is all we have for this week, although these two are DEFINITELY view-worthy! Thanks, Ira and Stephanie!

I'm working on tomorrow's challenge, so check back in the morning for that! Have a good night!

Sunday, August 22, 2010

52CP33: Be Here Now

Good afternoon! I finally have a minute to post this week's challenge and share my (simple) project with you!

This week I had occasion to go to Hobby Lobby and I was struck (and mildly annoyed) by the HUGE amount of Christmas items on display, some of them already on sale. It's still SUMMER, isn't it? I realize that crafters (myself included) like to get a jump on creating for the holidays, but come on! Can we at least have Labor Day and possibly Halloween before we move into "fa la la" and "ho ho ho"?!

I discussed this a bit with my dear friend Sherry, and we agreed that it's a shame that we can't enjoy the seasons and holidays in their proper order and at the proper time because of so much commercialism and bottom-line thinking. I started thinking about the bigger picture and realized that there are many scenarios that play out to keep us from being fully "present in the moment".

Many of us are in a constant state of hurry, hurry, hurry. We do everything on the run and multi-task as much as possible. A couple of reasons to stop doing this include the findings of a study that concluded that when we multitask, instead of doing one thing at a time and doing it well, we're dividing our attention among several things and doing all of them with some mediocrity. It's also been demonstrated that when we focus on the food we're eating - as opposed to eating on the run - it actually increases the amount of nutrition that we assimilate into our systems.

Other aspects of not focusing on the present moment might include deeper meanings of conversations that we miss because we're only half-listening, or missing non-verbal cues like facial expression or body language because we're not really paying attention. Missing a turn because we're not paying attention as we drive, forgetting information that we didn't tune into well enough for it to imprint on our brains, simple pleasures that escape us because we're in go-go-go mode - all of these are negative aspects of lack of focus and attention in the present moment.

We're all familiar with phrases like, "Take time to stop and smell the roses" or, as Ferris Bueller says, "Life moves pretty fast. If you don't slow down once in a while, you could miss it." All of our tomorrows - even our next minutes or hours - are possibilities, not definites. All we know for sure that we have is this present moment. One quote that I've seen quite a bit in the scrapbooking/cardmaking world is, "We do not remember days, we remember moments". I would propose that we can't really remember moments if we don't take the time to fully appreciate them as they are happening. Why not create meaningful moments for ourselves and BE HERE NOW?

I made a very simple little hanging item to include in my craft/work room to remind me of my intention to do just that:

Stamps: Hampton Art Postscript Alphabet, Plaid Hannah Montana Alphabet; Ink: Versafine Onyx Black; Paper: Stampin'Up! Riding Hood Red cardstock and Bella Rose designer papers; Accessories/tools: Nestabilities Labels One, Offray ribbon, detail clear embossing powder

Here's Mr. Linky for this week:

52CP32 Featured Artist

Good Sunday Morning (almost afternoon) to you! Apparently all of you have had a week like mine, and had many other things to do besides make cards! I didn't even get to posting the one gorgeous contribution to the challenge, which is definitely worth featuring! Ira made this beautiful piece of altered art for her niece:

I love how creative this is, and the colors are so pretty!

In other news, one of our regular contributors, Stephanie, is under the weather and could probably use some love. Maybe we could drop by her blog and leave a comment or something...

I'll be back in an hour or two with this week's challenge (still finishing that up, too - like I said, crazy week!) See you in a bit!

Sunday, August 15, 2010

52CP32: Metamorphosis

Hello again! This is a few (13) hours later than I'd hoped, but here's this week's challenge:

A month or two ago I read an article by life coach Martha Beck regarding human metamorphosis. She states that when we undergo major life transitions we do psychologically what insects do physically, and went on to outline four phases and how to cope with them. Follow the link to read the entire article (well worth it!), but here's a brief rundown:
  1. Dissolving: "When real metamorphosis has begun...we may feel that everything is falling apart, that we're losing everyone and everything. Dissolving feels like death, because it is - it's the demise of the person you've been." She then goes on to say that at this stage you should focus on the immediate - the present moment, nurturing yourself in small, immediate ways, and allowing yourself to grieve - and recognizing that this is a relatively passive phase - it's not something you do, but rather something that happens to you.
  2. Imagining: "You'll know you're entering Phase 2 when your mind's eye starts seeing images of the life you are about to create... The old order simply seems wrong, and you'll begin reordering your outer situation to reflect your inner rebirth. Phase 2 is all about images: making them up, making them clear, making them possible. Moving through this stage, you'll start to feel an impulse to go from dreaming (imagining possibilities) to scheming (planning to bring your vision to fruition). Write down both dreams and schemes, then gather information about how you might create them."
  3. Re-forming: "As your dreams become schemes, you'll begin itching to make them come true. You'll be motivated to do real, physical things to build a new life. And'll fail. Repeatedly." Martha then goes on to say that she's never seen a significant scheme succeed on the first try, and that you will briefly re-visit the previous phases as you continue to build your dream and tweak as necessary.
  4. Flying: "Phase 4 is the payoff, the time when your new identity is fully formed and able to fly."
I have obviously scaled-down and simplified the process and what to do at each stage. Again - I recommend following the link to read the full article, but hopefully you glean enough information from my synopsis to get the idea.

For my card this week, I had in mind a quote from Alice in Wonderland, where Alice is conversing with the caterpillar. She asks him how you become a butterfly, and he responds, "You must want to fly so badly that you are willing to cease being a caterpillar." Often (at least in my case), we cling to what we know - whether it's working or not - because the unknown is scarier than whatever it is we're clinging to. I'm reminding myself ( and - by default - all of you) to let go of the fear and embrace the change!

Stamp: Inkadinkado Patterned Bugs; Ink: Versamark, Versafine Onyx Black; Paper: DCWV Mariposa mat stack, DCWV Photoreal, vellum, black; Accessories/tools: Detail clear embossing powder, Martha Stewart and Fiskars butterfly punches, Prima flowers, Offray ribbon

I hope your week is amazing, and here's Mr. Linky for you:

Saturday, August 14, 2010

52CP31 Featured Artists

Good Saturday night to you! So, I'm clicking along on tomorrow's challenge when it hits me: I haven't posted this week's submissions for the challenge! I still hadn't left comments on two of the blogs, even! Geesh - what a ninny! Anyway, despite the delay, here they are:

Sarah started us off with a beautiful scripture-based card. "Be still" is one of my very most favorite phrases - I wish I was better at making time to actually do it! Anyway, her card is just lovely...

Stephanie's card has a great vintage look and feel, and includes an affirmation we all can use:

Beverly's card makes me want to trade places with this li'l guy - he looks so peaceful... I'd love to have a lazy afternoon like that!

Thanks ladies, for your contributions this week! Thanks to all of the rest of you, too, for dropping by! See you in a few hours with a new challenge! G'night!

Sunday, August 8, 2010

52CP31: Solitude

Good Sunday morning to you! I hope you've had a great week! Today I want to share a totally awesome video that I discovered on Susannah Conway's blog:

Is that the coolest or what? We've been talking about being okay with ourselves and loving ourselves and being comfortable in our own skin, and being okay with being alone is HUGE on that particular front!

Here's my card:
Stamps: Scrappy Cat Sparkle Flourish; Ink: Versafine Onyx Black; Paper: Strathmore Sketch pad, black; Accessories/tools: Prismacolor colored pencils, Gamsol, blending stumps, Bic black marker

I lightly traced a circle and drew a heart in it, then colored everything with colored pencils blended with Gamsol. After that, I stamped a couple of flourishes and doodled a bit on the heart. I wanted the sentiment on the outside but just couldn't get happy with it, so it's inside instead. It says, "Within you there is a solitude and peace, to which you can retreat at any time and be yourself." It's a quote that's been in my head since junior high, but I don't know who said it...

Here's Mr. Linky so you can show me your creations!

Saturday, August 7, 2010

52CP30 Featured Artists

A little better this week - we had three submissions for the challenge - one of them all the way from the Netherlands! Welcome, Ira, and thanks for joining us!

Stephanie pulled out another of her wonderful sentiment stamps to make this beautiful card:

I love the flourish-y paper and the fun button treatment on the ribbon! Steph says her Idea Fairy visits most often when she's already doing something creative, or at least "leaves enough room" for that. A hands-on approach to inspiration does make sense...

Beverly gets inspiration from discovering new "card tricks" (as she calls them) online, and made this fun card to illustrate that thought:

I love that she added a fairly stamp to the image - so fun!

Newcomer Ira made a beautiful, bling-y fairy card:

Great colors and oh-so-sparkly! Isn't that a gorgeous image? Love it!

Thanks, ladies, for your wonderful contributions! See you all tomorrow for a new challenge!